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An Important Message from Executive Director Scott Ferguson

October 1, 2015
An Important Message from Executive Director Scott Ferguson

Dear Inside Out family:

I am writing to tell you some bittersweet yet exciting news: After 15 years with this amazing organization, I have made the difficult decision to step down as Inside Out’s Executive Director in 2016 in order to pursue new creative and professional challenges. 

When I reflect back on the past decade and a half, I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished. When I joined Inside Out at the beginning of 2001, the organization was experiencing the growing pains that many young non-profit organizations go through in trying to build its resources and strengthen its infrastructure in response to the enthusiastic demand from Toronto’s queer communities. Back in 2001, the Executive Director was the only full-time staff person and we ran the organization on a budget of less than $300,000 with the support of three additional contract employees and countless volunteers.

Today, we have a full-time team of seven, hundreds of fantastic volunteers and an annual budget of almost $1.5 million. In addition, the scope of our activities have expanded beyond just the Toronto Festival to showcase queer film year-round, not just to Toronto audiences but throughout Ontario through our touring initiatives and the Ottawa LGBT Film Festival. As well, we have increased our support to emerging and established filmmakers through educational and funding programs like New Visions, the OUTtv Post-Production Fund, the Mark S. Bonham Scholarship and the Harold Greenberg Short to Feature Fund.

I have been fortunate to become the public face of Inside Out during my tenure but the success of the organization is a huge group effort made possible through the behind-the-scenes hard work, dedication and vision of the Inside Out staff, Board of Directors and more than 250 volunteers. It has been an incredible privilege to work with all the amazing people who have walked through our office door over the past 15 years. I am equally humbled by the generosity of our funders, sponsors, members and donors who have shown their support for Inside Out’s programming and initiatives by opening their cheque books year after year. 

Reaching this decision was a difficult one as this organization has brought me such joy and fulfillment (as well as more than a few grey hairs) but, after the success of our 25th Anniversary Festival, the time feels right. The staff team and Board of Directors have never been stronger and under new leadership I’m excited to see where my talented group of colleagues take Inside Out next.

I have countless memories of Inside Out to carry with me as I move forward. From my first Toronto Festival back in 2001 when my entire body was shaking as I stood on stage for the Opening Gala premiere of Hedwig and the Angry Inch with John Cameron Mitchell, to sharing laughter and tears with Matt Shepard’s parents Judy and Dennis at the 2014 Festival, to getting selfie lessons from Laverne Cox in the TIFF Bell Lightbox elevator during World Pride.

However what will always resonate the deepest are the personal comments and messages from filmmakers and audience members about their Inside Out experiences that so honestly and simply capture the power that film can have to truly challenge attitudes and change lives.

I’m not leaving Inside Out with any definitive plans, other than three months of hanging out with the koalas and kangas in Australia, but the talented artists I’ve met over the years, have inspired me and reinforced how important the arts are to me both personally and professionally. I’ll stay as Executive Director until early Spring to assist with a smooth and thorough transition and I’ll still be involved in some capacity with Inside Out up to the 26th annual Festival in May.

I look forward to building more memories with you all at Inside Out in 2016 and in the years that follow as an enthusiastic audience member.

My sincere and heartfelt thanks once again, for helping to making my 15 years with Inside Out one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences of my life.

See you in the dark!

Scott


 

Looking back at the last 15 years of Inside Out under Scott’s leadership, the organization’s growth is truly remarkable.

He and the team have developed a strong organization now respected around the world for inclusive curatorial excellence, all while nurturing our deep roots in our local community. Inside Out wouldn’t be the institution it is today were it not for Scott’s vision and tireless work.

We’ve been so fortunate to have Scott’s passion and dedication for the last 15 years, and for the next while as we begin the transition process.

Inside Out’s Board of Directors is currently reviewing the organization’s goals and strategic priorities, and further announcements will be made regarding the recruitment process later this fall.

Scott is so deeply loved by our whole Inside Out family, and while we’ll miss his many talents and his ever-so-slightly self-deprecating humour in the office and on the Festival stage when he steps down in 2016, it’s reassuring to know he’ll be there in the audience, still lending his support. Although I am sad we don’t get to keep him for another 15 years, I’m excited to see what adventure is next for him.

Please join me and the whole Board of Directors in giving Scott a round of applause.

Jason Wagar

Chair, Inside Out Board of DIrectors